Polaroid not dead!


And I’ll say it again, Yay!

According to the UK’s Independent, Florian Kaps, the guy behind Polanoid.net, has stepped up to the plate to save the beloved film format. After Polaroid announced in June 2008 that they would cease production of the instant film, it seemed that it was doomed to the history books as another victim of the digital camera revolution.

Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Now, I don’t shoot film much, hardly at all actually, but like all true photographers, I have a deep respect and appreciation for it. And if you’re going to shoot film, you might as well make it worth it by shooting medium or large format.

And if you’re going to shoot large format, you’d be crazy to not shoot Polaroid. I don’t know how guys like Edward S. Curtis and others managed to carry around glass slides all over the un-conquered earth, but I don’t envy them. Even in a studio, Polaroid film for a large format camera would be essential for me to want to do it that way. And if Polaroid is gone? Well, then, I have a hard time seeing myself shooting large format film any time soon.

But thankfully, Kaps has stepped up to the plate to take over production through the Impossible Project, supported by my favorite film company, Ilford.

They basically bought the entire Polaroid factory in the Netherlands, and have started researching more cost effective ways to produce the film that has remained essentially unchanged for over 40 years. It’s not an easy task, so they are asking support to reach their goals.

Their website has a sign up form where you can volunteer whatever resources you might be interested in giving.

It’s totally worth it to help out, because Polaroid film, which I guess should be called by its technical name “Integral Film” now that Polaroid is out of the picture, is totally awesome.

Also check out these resources:


The Cocteau Twins

You know, I listened to the Cure for a very long time. I loved, still love, the Cure. Especially their early 80s material before Robert Smith broke them up and did “The Love Cats” and his other poppy songs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great stuff, but how do you go from a song like “Cold” from their Pornography album, to “The Love Cats”?

Anyway, the I love the Cure’s early era the best, and so I went on a path of discovery to find out other bands that had that sound. There were a few that I found, like Siouxsie & The Banshees and Joy Division/early New Order being very close matches, Bauhaus being ok, and a few other more obscure bands like And Also the Trees.

What is painfully obvious to me in hindsight, however, is that I missed one of the biggest bands to come out of that same scene. I totally missed out on the Cocteau Twins. Their sound, before their bassist Will Heggie left the band in 1983, was very similar to what the Cure were doing. The heavy repetetive bass guitar, the shimmery effects laden guitar, and the off-the-charts singing were all very much in the same genre.


What sets the Cocteau Twins apart from the other bands, actually the main thing that separates them all apart, is the singing. (Now that I think about it, if you were to remove Robert Smith, Siouxsie Sioux, or Ian Curtis from their respective bands, would anyone be able to tell them apart?)

Elizabeth Fraser has undoubtedly one of the most unique vocals in the history of rock and roll. You can say this for sure, ain’t no one else sing like her. About the closest comparison anyone could make would be to Siouxsie Sioux, and even then Siouxsie would sound like Siouxsie Sioux, not Elizabeth Fraser.

Just like the rest of the bands, I can only handle about an hour of their music before I want to go jump off a bridge, but it is certainly an interesting hour.

A quick peek through the live video archives on YouTube provides you with an abundance of material to listen to and watch. You’ll notice that the live stuff is much more raw than their ethereal dream pop of some of their recordings. You’ll also notice the drummer… gotcha. NO DRUMMER! Ha! I can’t bring to mind even one rock band of any era that routinely played without a live drummer. It leads me to wonder who it was that played for their sample loops.

It’s interesting stuff. I highly recommend that you check them out.

Pioneers of Prime Time TV cover Iron and Wine’s Radio War

I thought I’d give a shout out to some of my old roomates down in New Mexico. Their band, The Pioneers of Prime Time TV played a beautiful cover of Iron and Wine’s “Radio War” at the Uller Fest.

In the video, Thomas the lead singer and guitarist, and Dave the bassist, are my two roomates from back in the day in Seattle. We would all get together and jam into the wee hours of the morning, but not usually anything remotely as folksy as this. It seems that all of us who lived in that house together, that I know of, have mellowed out a bit in our musical tastes.

Although, I should say, Thomas and Dave were always playing more folksy stuff anyways off to the side.

Anyways, their band is great, and if you ever get a chance to go down to the Las Alamos area in New Mexico, you should check them out.